In 2009, Iowa tipped Arizona in Kinnick Stadium 27-17 on the back of Iowa’s defense—which essentially stifled any real offense the Wildcats could muster.
Arizona’s running back Nic Grigsby came into the contest as the nation’s second leading rusher.
He left Iowa City with only 75 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Of their 17 total points, Arizona scored seven as a result of an interception of a Stanzi pass. The Wildcat offense scored another seven points as time was running out in the fourth quarter and the outcome was no longer in doubt.
That meant that for all of their efforts, the Arizona offense earned a field goal on the afternoon. That evolved when Iowa corner back Amari Spievey stopped Grigsby with a tackle on the Iowa one yard line. Subsequently, Iowa stopped Arizona cold and the Wildcats had to settle for a three-pointer instead of a touchdown.
The Iowa defense which held the Arizona offense to a mere eight first downs, will be expected to repeat their performance in 2010. This year Iowa’s “Bid D” will face a more explosive offense, led by quarterback Nick Foles, a Michigan State transfer.
Foles entered the game in the fourth quarter of the 2009 game against Iowa and has now replaced last year’s starter Matt Scott.
Foles forte is passing and in his first two games he has thrown for 574 yards and three touchdowns. Completing 83 percent of his passes, Foles has also tossed a couple of interceptions. But the level of the Wildcat competition has not been exactly stiff.
The Arizona team mauled the MAC Conference Toledo Rockets 41-2 in week one. They followed that up with a win over the Citadel of the Southern Conference, 52-6. Iowa, on the other hand, will present a whole lot more competition.
The Wildcats use short passes to open up the field. RB Grigsby is back fully healthy again, piling up 160 yards and five touchdowns in the first two games.
He has been aided in the backfield by Greg Nwoko who has added 100 yards and two touchdowns so far in 2010. The Arizona defense will be forced to stand up to their toughest test so far in this young season.
Iowa will win this game for many reasons but primarily because of the the team effort on both sides of the ball. On offense and on defense expect these tandems to excel as No. 9 Iowa faces No. 24 Arizona in Tucson on September 18:
(1) Quarterback Ricky Stanzi and Kicker Trent Mossbrucker:
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi has practically erased last year’s miscues from the minds of most fans. Plagued with interceptions in 2009 as Stanzi tried to force the action, so far in 2010 Stanzi has completed 70 percent of his passes in his first two games.
He has amassed 433 yards through the air and added three touchdowns to his growing resume.
Moreover, Stanzi has no interceptions on the books because the running game is more fully developed than it was a year ago.
The presence of Stanzi will force the Arizona defense to work especially hard to get through the invigorated offensive line that protects him.
Stanzi will throw for a touchdown or two in this weekend's game against the Arizona Wildcats. With his sidekick Trent Mossbrucker, who is 10 for 10 on extra point conversions, adding the necessary PATs, this dynamic duo will pile up points in favor of the visiting Hawkeyes next Saturday.
(2) Running Backs Adam Robinson and Jewel Hampton:
Last Saturday against Iowa State, Adam Robinson surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards as he gained 156 yards on 14 carries (11.1 avg.) and one TD against the Cyclones.
Iowa’s running backs present a two-pronged attack are a handful for any defense they face.
To date, Robinson has 256 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Jewel Hampton who saw his first action last week against the Cyclones, added 84 yards on 20 carries plus a touchdown.
Last year at this time, the running game was a project in the making. With two inexperienced freshmen running the ball in 2009, Stanzi tread water and forced the action, waiting for their experience to offer rewards.
The running game today is viable, potent, and ready to bolster the offensive efforts. Robinson and Hampton have become a force to be reckoned with and will keep Arizona quite busy—assuming the offensive line keeps up its end of the bargain.
(3) Receivers Allen Reisner and Marvin McNutt
The Iowa receiving corps lining up against Arizona is going to be key.
Allen Reisner averages 15 yards, with seven catches for a total of 105 yards and one touchdown while Marvin McNutt averages 23.2 yards, with four catches for 93 yards and one touchdown This duo leads the receivers so far in 2010.
Yet, you cannot ignore the tremendous contributions of WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. His Svengahli catches often leave the opposition wondering how he did that.
It goes without saying that Stanzi will be passing into more comprehensive defensive coverage than he has seen so far this season. The Iowa offense must depend on these receivers to get themselves open to catch the ball. The receivers will need to shine for the Hawks to come away with a win.
(4) Linebackers Jeff Tarpinian and Jeremiah Hunter:
Against Iowa State Jeff Tarpinian set a career high with 11 tackles (three solo) in his first career start. Jeremiah Hunter leads Iowa with 14 tackles in 2 games.
These two linebackers lead the Iowa defense in this category and in that sense represent the entire unit benefitting from the constant pressure exerted by the Iowa front four, Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug, Christian Ballard, and Broderick Binns.
There is no reason to suspect that the Iowa defense will let up in their mission to dominate any offense they face and they will be ready as usual to do their part to secure a victory in Tucson. The defense will once again rise to the occasion and shut down the Wildcats.
(5) Defensive Backs Brett Greenwood and Tyler Sash:
Facing a pocket passer in Foles, the safeties will have a great opportunity to add to their interception totals in 2010. So far the Hawks have intercepted three passes with LB Tyler Nielsen, FS Brett Greenwood, and CB Shaun Prater each pulling one in for the Hawks.
The defensive backs will have to continue to provide excellent coverage in the secondary against the re-tooled Wildcat offense. Last year Tyler Sash led the Iowa defense in interceptions with six in total, three of them secured during the Iowa State game in 2009. He is dangerous along with Greenwood and the corners. They should shine in this contest.
Look as well for punter Ryan Donahue to aid in the Iowa victory. Last Saturday against the Cyclones, Donahue registered five punts for 242 yards (48.4 avg.) with two inside the 20 yard line and a long of 61 yards against Iowa State.
These dynamic duos will combine to put Iowa over the top in Week 3 as they travel to Tucson to face the No. 24 Arizona Wildcats.